Posted By
7/9/2018 12:07am
View other posts by
Replies: 4

Hi all,

I had my Melanoma stage 1A diagnosis on June 21 on my lower left calf. On Friday I had my WLE at Dana Farber/Brigham Women's. I am now waiting to hear back about the pathology. I am really hoping the margins are clear. 

I just wanted to share my story. Before the surgery I requested a sedative for my anxiety. The nurse came back and handed me the pill and cup of water (or so I thought) to wash it down. I thought it was odd she handed me a specimen cup but didn't think twice. After I had swallowed it, I knew it wasn't water and immediately asked, "what did you just give me?!" It turns out she handed me the specimen cup (in which they put the skin sample) of Formalin (Formaldehyde) to drink instead of water. My stomach was burning so bad, and I was crying and shaking; they had to call poison control. Luckily I didn't drink enough to have any poisoning. 

The surgery itself went well, though. I just had quite a bit of exictement before : / It's crazy that such stupid mistakes can be made at one of the best cancer centers in the country.  

Anyway, my leg is so sore; I can barely walk. I think the scar is 3 inches long and has over 20 stitches on the outside. They took all the fat and down to the fascia. My leg looks really indented and weird, like they scooped an huge chunk out (which they did).

I know you all know how this goes. I just wanted to share. This forum has made me feel a lot better after my diagnosis to be able to share and read others experiences.



Laura - Stage 1A

Sharon93065 - (7/9/2018 - 12:10am)

Oh how awful!  Just knowing i drank it would have given me a grand mall panic attack.  So sorry.............


QuietPoet - (7/9/2018 - 1:51pm)

Hi LauraKoco,

I had my WLE from my 1A melanoma removed last year around this time. It took a long time to heal becuase I'm just generally a slow healer, but also because it got infected AND because I tried to do to much. I'm not sure what movement most affect the calf, but the middle of the top of the thigh is a doosey when it comes to housework -- Loading and unloading the dishwasher, picking up animal stuff, etc. Lots of squatting. My big mistake came at six weeks when I just HAD to go out and garden. Bad idea. I actually hear the inside stitches rip, and the scar now looks different than it might have because of it. My point is -- take it easy. It may take a while to heal. And while it's "just' a WLE -- these are not nothing -- it can take a while to recover from them and I don't think in general anyone tells you that. Good luck in your healing.


Stage 1A excised, keeping an eye on another; multiple dyslpastic nevi.

laurakoco - (7/9/2018 - 5:13pm)

Hey Erika,
Funny you should mention it, I am dying to get back to my garden. I will definitely take your advice and take it easy for the next month or two.


Laura - Stage 1A

ldub - (7/12/2018 - 12:28am)

I also had a WLE on my lower left calf, similar size - with the "shark bite" down to the  fascia.  You will be amazed at how well it will heal.  I am three years down the road from where you are now and the indent is barely noticeable and the scar a very faint small line.    I took serial pictures of the wound so I could document the healing process - pretty cool.  Just take it easy and do your wound care daily for the best results - you will be thankful later!  Yikes about the formaldehyde!!!